2008 NIT Capsule: UAB
Conference USA (22-10, 12-4)
Big Wins: 12/15 vs Kentucky (79-76), 2/20 Houston (101-99), 2/27 at UTEP (88-81)
Bad Losses: 12/8 at South Florida (56-68), 12/22 at Wichita State (52-61), 1/19 at Marshall (57-62)
Coach: Mike Davis
Aaron Johnson, Freshman, Guard, 5.0 ppg, 4.1 apg
Channing Toney, Junior, Guard, 11.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Robert Vaden, Junior, Guard, 21.6 ppg, 2.5 apg, 3.5 rpg
Frank Holmes, Senior, Forward, 4.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Reggie Huffman, Junior, Forward, 7.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg
Ed Berrios, Junior, Guard, 3.9 ppg, 2.8 apg
Mike Davis, Jr., Junior, Guard, 2.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Lawrence Kinnard, Junior, Forward, 11.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Howard Crawford, Sophomore, Forward, 4.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Jeremy Mayfield, Sophomore, Forward, 4.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
After a slow start, UAB has quietly played themselves into the post season. Some injuries and suspensions have hindered their progress throughout the year, but one constant has been the play of wing Robert Vaden. The former Hoosier averages 21.6 points per game and when he is on, UAB can look very impressive. Vaden scored 41 points in late February at UTEP and any time he can take over a game to that magnitude, UAB can win.
The Blazers need some scorers besides Vaden and since Channing Toney has been around, he has shown promise. The transfer from Georgia had to sit out the first semester of the season due to transfer rules, but since then he has been a pretty consistent double-digit scorer. UAB really needs a secondary scorer from the perimeter and Toney is the only option.
Why They Can Disappoint:
There is nothing UAB is that bad at doing. They will not grab a lot of steals, but that is because they would rather play solid defense than take risks on getting turnovers. The turnovers could be considered a little high, but it is nothing to get worried about for a team that will run. Most of the turnovers are not Aaron Johnson’s fault, but the point guard still might be a concern in March. It is not because he is lightning quick and a great athlete, or even that he is 5-7. The only problem is that he is a freshman. Toney and Vaden are the leaders, but every team needs an experienced player to bring the ball up the floor during tournament time.
Who To Watch:
Thirteen players have at least started a game this year at UAB. Once the dust started to settle, a handful of forwards have found their way into the regular rotation. Lawrence Kinnard is the most dynamic of the group. The 6-8 junior can score inside and out and is the best rebounder on the team. Reggie Huffman is a little undersized, but he will do the dirty work in the paint. Frank Holmes, Howard Crawford and Jeremy Mayfield are a diverse group of experienced big men who Coach Mike Davis can throw into the game whenever they are needed.
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